Schedule 2019‎ > ‎07 July‎ > ‎

2019-07-03 ACTIVISTS #6

(View On YouTube or On Facebook

YouTube Video


Topic: What is your experience of taking part in an Empathy Circle?
In this Empathy Circle participant who have previously taken part in an Empathy Circle will discuss the experience of taking part in the circle. 
  • * What do you experience?
  • * What feelings come up? 
  • * What do you like?
  • * What do you not like?
  • *  What would you wish for?
  • *  etc, etc.?

About the Empathy Circle An Empathy Circle is a structured dialogue process that effectively supports meaningful and constructive dialogue. It increases mutual understanding and connection by ensuring that each person feels fully heard to their satisfaction.

Transcript to Clean.

okay this is our empathy experts or I  
 should say empathy activists circle  
 these are people who have worked are  
  working extensively on the topic of 
empathy we're taking part in an empathy 
circle here's let's get started with the 
introductions I'm Edwin Raj director the 
Center for building a culture of empathy 
so for about 14 years I've been working 
quite intensively on topic of empathy 
how do we build a more empathic Society 
interviewing hundreds of experts on the 
topic and doing all kinds of different 
projects so Martin would you like to 
introduce yourself next okay my name is 
Martin Golda I'm a mediator in British 
Columbia in Canada when I my most of my 
career was actually as an architect but 
I became a mediator in about 1996 and 
discovered that empathy was actually one 
of the central tools of conflict 
resolution and and I was woefully short 
of it I often start my lectures by 
saying that my empathy was surgically 
removed in British boarding school and 
there's a lot of truth to that so I 
developed a concept of mechanical 
empathy one might say my wife says I 
should call it prosthetic empathy for 
something you strap on if you've had 
your empathy removed you can strap on 
prosthetic empathy and in fact in terms 
of conflict resolution it actually works 
very well I would say I'm using the 
intellectual side of empathy in that I'm 
getting into content a bit here but 
anyway that's how I got into the whole 
subject of empathy and I went on a bit 
of a quest about a 15 year quest to see 
if I could find the real thing and how 
at the time I started it was generally 
thought that you know you either had it 
or you didn't and but as it turns out as 
we now know it it can be taught it can 
be acquired and I've talked to me 
PhDs with fMRI machines that confirm 
confirm that so 
that's who I am oh great thanks mentor 
work in progress 
smarten a so my name is min turd dial 
I am 54 and live in Europe although 
mixed baggage in my background I've 
lived in Canada and United States 
England France Spain Switzerland and a 
few other places have been places about 
space I was born in Belgium and today 
I'm a speaker author filmmaker and my 
last book I don't have a copy of it but 
I thought I'd drum up a digital version 
X I'm a kind of a digital geek it's 
called heart official empathy I'm just I 
don't know if you can see if there's not 
so well here's some other more or less 
blurred out anyway harder for sympathy 
putting heart into business and 
artificial intelligence and in the wake 
of that book I've been looking at 
exactly how to encode food empathy into 
businesses and into machines and like 
you March and I came into it saying well 
I I must say I previously had come 
across it as a wonderful concept running 
business in L'Oreal where I worked for 
16 years and and yet when I started to 
write the book I realized that I too had 
some deficiencies in the empathy 
compartment and and I offers and I also 
like you got very sort of focus more on 
the let's say the cognitive side of it 
rather than the emotional side which is 
something more learn about I think than 
the emotional or affective empathy 
oh great well we're gonna have some a 
chance to talk about empathy here we're 
doing an empathy circle and I'll just 
give a short introduction you both know 
how to do it but for anyone watching how 
it empathy circle works we have on our 
website we have a one-page description 
that's quite accessible so an empathy 
circle is based on mutual active 
listening so in this process one person 
speaks and they select you they're going 
to speak to and they talked about the 
topic at hand or whatever is alive for 
them whatever comes up that's you know 
kind of a burning topic on top of your 
mind or feelings you speak to the person 
you're supposed to speak to your chosen 
that person and you pause periodically 
and that the person you're speaking to 
reflects back their understanding of 
what you've said sort of recap being 
summarizing paraphrasing but just kind 
of getting the essence of what the 
speaker is saying and the intention is 
for the speaker to be heard to their 
satisfaction and the speaker will have 
six-minute turn so you can speak for you 
know six minutes on topic and then once 
you feel heard to your satisfaction at a 
time is up and you can say I feel fully 
heard then it would be the listeners 
turn to become the speaker and then 
choose someone else in the group and 
that person reflects back we go around 
for the time allotted so a couple tips 
that is the speaker you know you want to 
pause periodically so the listener can 
reflect back with their hearing the 
speakers you say and also if you're the 
listener and the speaker is kind of 
going on and on you can say you can ask 
for a pause though if you just pause let 
me reflect back because it becomes a lot 
to sort of hold you know the most if it 
becomes multiple concepts so that's 
pretty much the essence of it so in the 
as a listener active listener you're 
reflecting back the essence of what you 
hear and you're recapping and you're 
trying to avoid putting your own stuff 
and they're not putting any judgments or 
or die 
nursing or advising but just really 
trying to share what you hear the person 
say so that's the other component so 
this topic is a bit of a mecca a sort of 
a topic it's what is your experience of 
taking part in the empathy circle so you 
know what are you experiencing what 
feelings come up what insights come up 
what do you like with you not like so 
does that seem pretty clear and I'll do 
the timekeeping as well and so it's 
really about this this practice which 
you know for my years of experience I 
find this like the most sort of easy 
first step sort of gateway practice or 
trying to sort of promote it you know 
create as much information and 
experience rather as possible that's why 
works we're using the process and 
talking about it at the same time so 
with that if anybody would like to start 
you know select - you'd like to speak to 
and we can just get the ball rolling if 
you want to speak to me as a sample 
that's good - or over anybody feels 
motivated Marcin do you feel like 
jumping in well I suppose somebody has 
to do you mean as ELISA or a speaker as 
a speaker okay yes okay well mentor I 
guess I'll we're somewhat limited in our 
choices today but choose it but you can 
choose the Joker I guess at the moment I 
mean one of the things I've wrestled 
with quite a bit is in in mediations in 
conflict resolution I often run into a 
perception that any expressions of 
empathy and compassion are considered 
weaknesses to be exploited by the other 
side and I have a friend in Brussels a 
corporate lawyer and and she says 
empathy is no part of my business I it's 
just not part of my 
seen at all and yes go ahead 
so what you're saying what I hear you 
saying Martin is that in your practice 
of mediation you oftentimes come across 
the notions that empathy and or 
compassion can be scenes seen as 
weaknesses and some people will have a 
sort of a nervous reaction to it so I 
don't want any of that absolutely yeah 
and so I have an ongoing conversation 
with this particular corporate lawyer 
just because we became friends in Madrid 
the conference there and you know and 
it's not that I'm trying to persuade her 
to adopt empathy although perhaps I am 
and I'm I sort of feel like my mission 
is to try and open her eyes to and for 
me to find out from her experience you 
know does them with the impact have any 
meaning in the world that she exists 
then of you know corporate lore and and 
she does conflict resolution between 
states I guess as well she does so but 
you're sometimes feeling but not store 
whether you are there to persuade her 
about benefits or role of empathy in her 
work her work me a little bit different 
she's a lawyer and seems to be mediating 
between states right and you know she 
made the right maybe maybe empathy 
doesn't have any place in her world and 
I'm I feel a little unsure of that and 
yet you know within the other world that 
I exist in sort of more empathic world 
where everybody is just like an empathy 
guru it seems crazy to think that the 
somewhere where empathy as Paul bloom 
might say you know is there's not 
appropriate so in in your world I assume 
what you mean there's sort of your peers 
as opposed to the 
work of mediation with people who are 
upset at one another it seems that there 
many people that obviously have drunk 
the kool-aid and think empathy is the 
greatest thing and as useful for 
everybody except mr. bloom who might be 
against empathy right absolutely okay 
well that was how we doing for time 
okay okay okay so anyway that's one of 
the one of the areas that that I have 
going on the frontiers of my research 
see I like yes the other one that's 
that's really big right now for me is 
that it's not so much the empathy thing 
but it well I was really glad to see 
empathy circles and extinction rebellion 
kind of coming into some kind of 
alignment there and talking to each 
other I have a group called the final 
run which is not only individuals final 
run the period between say retirement 
and death something like that also a 
cultural violent or final run for 
Humanity is paralleling that individual 
process and and I'm not sure I mean it's 
a kind of a separate thing from empathy 
but then empathy infiltrates everything 
and the final run for a moment in our 
human culture is the dominant story oh 
you were first of all saying that this 
is this is a second big area of interest 
to suppose within empathy when you were 
excited to see how empathy circles and 
the extinction rebellion threads were 
weaved in and then you link in to that 
this notion final run whether or not 
it's the let's move it into the hospice 
you know the ACA as we move towards 
death and I suppose in stages before 
that or on a more meta cultural level 
the the end of civilization or somehow 
some of our civilizations if that's what 
I am 
that's right yes and and you know how 
might I mean Edwin has a you know very 
strong model that he would tout I think 
as as you know a sort of a solution to 
everything in some ways maybe not you 
can correct us on that later I went but 
and I wonder I wonder you know I don't 
know I you know could I go to the front 
lines 
you know what does empathy look like on 
the front lines and I I have a lot of 
kind of unknowns in my life around 
around the future unfolding and how it 
will actually hit me and how I will 
actually react in more extreme 
situations cool if I understand 
correctly you're looking at well you you 
wonder how empathy will play out at the 
front line wherever that front line 
abstract is it might seem in terms of 
the evolution of society and and where 
he in control of that and how empathy 
will play out within that you sort of 
question oh and of course the finality 
of the outcomes that might be facing in 
terms of piety yes where if you you've 
cut out a few things in that but but yes 
basically I definitely feel that you 
heard what I was saying so thank you 
very much my pleasure 
I'm assuming that you was technical 
cutouts or because I was doing 
abbreviations of your audios ranking up 
a little bit I have a Parisian Wi-Fi 
system as well yeah so Edwin listening 
let me speak to you so empathy circles 
let me start by talking about my 
experience of them and then move into 
what I think of them so my experience of 
them was that I I really felt very naive 
when I first embarked on them and as I 
started I really felt very inadequate in 
my ability to listen and I I could find 
my busy brain going haywire and and of 
course this is also at the very 
beginning connecting into the new people 
which confuses my mind so what I'm 
hearing there is that your experience 
when you're first started was one you're 
feeling a sense of inadequacy so I'm a 
bit of anxiety about that and then also 
you have a lot of new people in the 
circle there's sort of a so maybe some 
bangs you didn't say they weren't 
anxiety but may be so many anxiety 
around you know relating to the new 
people and then the in in the process of 
the very first one how I I start to be a 
little bit more 
clued in to it then then there's members 
the second empathy circle and it's a new 
set of people I'm a little acclimate 
it's the ideas and the procedures of it 
and yet I can still see my limbic brain 
coming out or at least other elements of 
my reactions that confuse confound what 
I'm hearing and all the same by the end 
I feel like I'm back in a good place 
where I am getting this and then now I'm 
where I I get go oh you're breaking up a 
little bit there you may want to pause 
your video just because your voice is 
breaking up not give you more bandwidth 
okay so do me to say I'll say what I 
heard so what I heard is like the first 
day the first circulated be had so that 
anxiety but you started getting familiar 
with the process so the second time you 
still had you know some discomfort or 
but you are getting more comfortable 
with the practice and then that's kind 
of work where I stopped the hearing was 
good to the point now that I I'm Garrett 
in from I'm dialed in from minute one 
okay so from the from the beginning 
you're you're familiar with it and when 
you get started like right now you're 
just feeling more comfortable with your 
my mind sets much more ready for having 
done several of these not only by notion 
of I have to meet Martin new person 
obviously I know you 
and and then there's the idea of that 
mind space to be present enough to 
really focus in on what's you know 
what's being said by the individuals 
okay so if you get more comfortable you 
get more kind of present to be able to 
be present with with people and now you 
feel more comfortable and more present 
an exam earns there that's right no but 
that's that's the notion right so that's 
my experience as to my opinion of them 
so as a as a technique I like a lot of 
the elements the process the notion of 
two hours and the limited number of 
people like an empathy circle with three 
for example I feel like there's there's 
more there could be more flexibility 
within that and certainly for the two 
hours on a practical level especially 
since for me it's 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. it's 
it's a whack that's that's dinner time 
you know and we live in compressed times 
so I feel like the two hours may be a 
very onerous element on an ongoing basis 
hmm so for the sort of practical aspect 
the time is is difficult I mean two 
hours for an empathy circle with busy 
lives you know is is sort of it's 
difficult and especially if it's you 
know with finding time to work for the 
people then you're doing it around 
dinnertime and so that gets like another 
complication I mean of course time is 
precious for everybody so the then the 
point becomes the usage of empathy 
circles especially in my field which is 
more in a business space and it seems 
impossible for me to use an amputee 
circle in a business environment 
especially since it feels like the real 
benefits start 
sink in only it empathy circle two or 
three the sustainable benefits the 
benefit where I feel like I'm ready I 
mean yeah so there's a with the empathy 
circle it takes time to kind of work 
your way into it into the second third 
one and then by the third time you feel 
comfortable you're ready to really get 
in deeper and that it sounds like you're 
saying that the the time aspect in a 
business would be really difficult to do 
that because you know just it takes so 
much time 
yeah that's right and if I have more 
time I'd one that was six minutes but if 
you only just finished well just the the 
final element is that I feel like the 
embassy circle is a good entree as you 
say 
yet there are going there needs to be 
others that are you know maybe 
sophisticate the elements of empathy in 
a business environment so it's not just 
listening to the words being said but it 
might be decoding the emotions and and 
everything else that goes into empathy 
so there's a to make it practical in a 
work environment you feel there needs to 
be other sort of aspects brought in for 
example how do you read feelings and or 
decode them yes I feel hurt okay 
then I'll speak to Martin yeah there is 
one thing I like the term I think though 
Stephen can be mentioned the empathy 
takes time and efficiency as machines so 
it's that notion that one thing about 
empathy is it does take time you know so 
that and I find it like with doing the 
empathy circle it usually takes about an 
hour to just through and even start 
getting you know kind of comfortable 
getting familiar with the practice and 
they're sort of like in the second hour 
where everybody is you sort of sink in 
deeper and 
that it's yes my experience okay so what 
you're saying is that yeah empathy takes 
a bit of time and Stephen Covey said 
that empathy takes time and efficiency 
as for machines and so your experience 
of the empathy circles is in that first 
hour or is where people are just kind of 
coming to grips with okay so this is 
empathy and the and the process that's 
going on and then in the second hour 
they start to okay I get it now and then 
maybe something deeper happens in that 
second balance yeah and the the practice 
is basically built is just the active 
listening a lot Carl Rogers who used 
active you really develop the practice 
within the therapeutic realm of sitting 
with an hour with the client and just 
listening to them in using active 
listening or an ethic listening so it's 
it comes from that experience and that 
practice and you know therapeutic world 
work the therapist just sits and listens 
in a non directive way just hearing the 
person who is speaking giving them space 
to share and having someone that's sort 
of accompanying them on their journey 
without trying to tell them where to go 
or what to do so one of the features of 
empathy circles comes out of the 
experience of the therapeutic movement 
and active listening Carl Rogers and 
others where you are as the chosen 
listener in the interaction you are just 
listening and paying attention and 
letting the other person feel that 
somebody is listening and somebody is 
hearing me and get to the point where 
Wow I've been heard and there's you know 
all kinds the studies that you know for 
a really good you know for a therapist 
to do for healing you know an offer 
healing that the empathy is in an ethnic 
therapist is the it's like a requirement 
the best therapists or the most empathic 
ones in terms of for for you know 
supporting people in in their healing 
and growth so in terms of the again 
coming out to the therapeutic model and 
a healing modality within an empathy 
circle the the best listeners the best 
healers other people who are most 
emphatic yeah and at least that's what 
they're the studies I've seen have been 
and then so we're trying to do is take 
it out of this therapeutic realm where 
there's you know a trained therapist and 
bring it into a mutuality 
so we're it's mutual listening something 
that anyone can do so to make it sort of 
reproducible to the to the masses so to 
speak to the white you know anybody with 
a little bit of practice do a couple 
circles watch some and then you can 
start taking part so it's something 
that's you know takes it out of the 
professional world and brings it into 
just human interactions so one of the 
things that you're trying to do with 
empathy circles is to take the healing 
and empathic mode and make it available 
to everybody so not just you don't have 
to go down to the to the therapists you 
can get together with a bunch of people 
have an empathy circle and and anybody 
can do that yeah and when I did 
something like you hear a mediator and 
so I've done mediation trainings here as 
well and from my observation if this 
mutual the mediator is sort of like 
trying to listen to and listen to the 
different parties and ethically and then 
get the parties to impact listen to each 
other it's like the core practice it 
seems to me of mediation and the epital 
the core of that mediation you know it's 
the core practice of if you had if 
there's a conflict you bring it into an 
empathy 
circle the whole practice in using 
active listed mutual active listening 
sort of unravels the Gordian can unravel 
accordion not most conflicts right 
so in paralleling empty circles to a 
practice of mediation there was a lot of 
similarities that in terms of the 
essence of a mediation and conflict 
dealing with conflict is to empathically 
go to each party and have each party 
feel heard you know only by the mediator 
but also by each other yeah kind of ten 
more to say but my time is not my field 
okay great 
well maybe I'll talk back to you then 
okay on this one you know yeah I really 
liked what mentor was saying I mean 
jumping straight into the the reason for 
this I mean focusing on you know our 
reaction to empty circles and and how we 
have it have it have experienced them I 
think you know for me I've often said 
that I love the fact that you have those 
two weights that you sometimes lift up 
behind you and say it's all about the 
practice practice practice you know you 
just keep exercising those empathic 
muscles and they get stronger and 
stronger 
the I think for me that the whole I mean 
the listening is is the key really and 
and sometimes it's pretty difficult you 
know to actually listen to people and to 
actually hear what they're saying 
sometimes it's it's so page and and and 
then my mind wanders or you know and I'm 
not focused and I think the empathy 
circle for me has been a really good 
it's like an exercise it is like this 
you know there's this so what you're 
speaking to is the exercise it's a it's 
a it's an exercising and a practising of 
it it's analogous that I can use that 
metaphor 
to that story and you know shows the 
weights and so you do see it as a as a 
practice and it sounds like sometimes 
when you're listening to people it's 
clear what they're saying and other 
kinds of sort of opaque to so you could 
have different qualities of hearing 
people yes absolutely and and so my 
experience at the empty circles has 
always been that Wow you know and as you 
know sometimes I found it quite hard 
quite difficult and and then at other 
times it just flows and so that probably 
is the you know the familiarity again 
that that meant to talk about of doing 
it two or three times and and eventually 
it flows a lot more easily and yeah so 
sometimes you're noticing the different 
qualities of it that sometimes when 
you're taking part it's like it's it's 
difficult and other times it flows and 
perhaps part of the flow is just doing 
it more yes and and then the other thing 
that mentor was talking about there too 
was the you know what he thought of it 
and what he thought of the empathy 
circles and so I was just thinking about 
that a little bit I mean usually when I 
finish one I'm thinking wow that that is 
a really good technology I really like 
that and it is very simple as you 
mentioned - very similar as you 
mentioned to some of the situations 
might be in a mediation it's I you know 
there is a part of the practitioners and 
you know I've certainly been there where 
you want to react to something to what 
somebody else is saying you know as 
opposed to just telling them what they 
said and I think the the discipline of 
you know going through that to just 
reflecting what they've said it is one 
of the powerful things and I've just I'm 
just thinking about example the other 
day on the climate change thing where 
you know one 
participants hmm really really very very 
different views about that and it was 
very hard not to react to some of those 
years hmm 
so again made part of the practice is 
that like when you're listening to 
someone you find that you know you're 
wanting to react to them like they say 
something you want to immediately react 
and they're sort of in the practice 
you're only having to listen so it's a 
good practice just to listen and notice 
actually an example you know in the 
climate change where somebody was saying 
something felt which may be sort of 
outrageous you just really wanted to 
react to it we had to sort of hold back 
and just listen yes yes and so you know 
when I you know think of you know you're 
moving the empathy circle into 
contentious realms you know with the the 
protesters at Berkeley or or or the 
climate change thing where you really 
get people on on with different views a 
you know I think for a long time I 
wondered how useful is it going to be 
you know how people will people play the 
game you know will they abide by the 
rules and you know no I just want to 
shout you down and and I I guess I'd be 
interested in hearing no stories more 
extreme situations - yeah so you're 
you're wondering like in really 
contentious situations with people doing 
empathy circles would they stay with the 
practice and the process so they just 
you know start yelling at each other and 
you're kind of interested in hearing 
like stories about it and so I just kind 
of curious about that yeah yeah no I 
shouldn't hearing some of your views on 
that I don't know if I feel fully hurt 
either okay okay no I'm I I mean how 
could I not feel fully heard talking to 
you hey you feel full you're like me we 
listening to you 
okay then I'll speak to thanks major and 
you meet it so I saw had my video off I 
suppose I could do it when I'm not 
speaking but in this case to keep it 
good 
I need to get so okay let's see wow that 
was great so yeah there's some things 
coming up one thing sort of responding 
to mentor you're saying that you know 
about the empathy circle being sort of a 
there needs to be more in business I do 
see it as the empathy circle is like a 
first step but it's like a really 
important first step and it's like and 
like with the practice it's just like we 
I feel like you need to practice it you 
need to get really comfortable with it 
just like when you're getting more and 
more comfortable with the mentor that 
you know if you just keep doing it and 
doing it get more and more that comfort 
kind of gets deeper and deeper ingrained 
and I think that's a real that's what 
what the practice of it is is that that 
getting really really comfortable with 
the practice so while I had mentioned I 
needed a mentor had mentioned more 
complexity maybe other elements 
necessary you reiterate it is a first 
place first base and yet really 
fundamental element that needs to be 
practiced on a ray or an iterative basis 
yeah yeah and it's something that we can 
teach every person in the world to 
become a facilitator it's within it's 
sort of doable in terms of like you know 
everyone could learn the practice and I 
think it would be like a first it'd be 
sort of like a first step momentum to 
get people to go down that path the 
empathy path so if we can necessarily my 
sort of goal is around the empathy 
circle really to sort of mass-produce it 
and then make it something that's just 
accessible for everyone to do because 
people can get a lot of benefits out of 
this you get a lot a huge amount of 
payoff then 
fits just with this first basic practice 
yes so you're looking at the empathy 
circle as a way to democratize the 
notions and you see it as being 
something that many people could 
facilitate once you've done it a few 
times you can get the process and you 
could make it therefore easier more 
accessible to many more people 
yeah for example in my family this 
Sunday we're going to be doing a family 
empathy circle and we just did one you 
know a month and a half ago so we have 
this issue in the family that the last 
one was four hours it will probably go 
another four or five hours this Sunday 
so we get the family together and we you 
know just kind of talk about this this 
this family issue 
and it really helps you know the family 
members have become very trusting and 
the practice things that would have 
blown up before you know it's like 
here's a oh if I just stick with this 
practice and I'll be heard we'll be able 
to work things through so that's just 
something I can see every in any family 
you know using this practice you know 
quite quickly and you can really you 
know get a lot of benefits in your 
family or you know with close 
relationships in terms of having this 
tool to work out issues so you've used 
heavily circle within your family and 
articulated around one specific issue 
it went on for four hours and then 
you're gonna do another one and you can 
see it going on same amount of time in 
the process it's the 
trust as anybody feels oh I'm beginning 
to get it and I know that I at least 
will have my chance to be heard yep so 
it is yeah it is that trust building 
aspect and and it's also a sort of a 
fallback position that you can get 
really good into practice and then you 
can sort of let go of it than just 
dialogue you know you can just turn into 
normal regular dialogue but then 
dialogue can break down right it's like 
just kind of using typical dialogue 
breaks down you say oh it's broken down 
this is our fallback position is the 
empathy circle so if it's sort of like a 
safety net in terms of conflict that 
okay we can just chat it's fine and 
invariably things break down somebody 
says something somebody gets pissed off 
the tensions start rising you say up 
let's go back to the fantastic listening 
you know mutual empathic listening and 
then you kind of build up trust and you 
can let go of it again so in the nature 
of a conversation your family the 
empathy circles you might switch off the 
empathy circle technical elements so 
move into a more natural organic 
conversation you know but as soon as the 
conversation and then starts wobbling 
and issues start returning back into the 
conversation you can circle back and use 
the embassy empathy circle to normalize 
maybe safety at you word used allow us 
to come back to some kind of safer space 
and then continue on exactly I still 
fully heard thank you my pleasure 
so let me for the sake of keeping the 
rhythm different I don't know I'm going 
to speak back to you add when so 
I have my let's say my angle of course 
is very much my business filter and I 
also have this AI filter and I have 
explored how machines could detect 
empathy and that's sort of where my 
baggage is when I come into this you 
have two areas that you're focusing on 
is is the business empathy in business 
and empathy and AI so they're sort like 
filters or baggage that you're bringing 
with you absolutely as opposed to 
mediation or let's say family issues and 
as such I'm quite interested in in 
understanding and building up context 
call it data points in AI and reading 
emotions such as as they are expressed 
through so many different ways including 
voice facial expressions heartbeats body 
language and as a result I'm curious to 
see how empathy circles could evolve to 
allow us to pick up on these other 
elements which are not I would say 
intrinsic to the notion of strict 
listening so you're looking at empathy 
within AI as you know how do you read 
the body language the tone of voice and 
create these different data points for 
artificial intelligence and you're just 
wondering how how the empathy circle 
could sort of fit into to that framework 
those AI and the technical aspect of the 
computer aspirant the yes for it for 
example at this very moment being Meza 
you are only listening to my 
you have no indication as to whether I'm 
standing up I'm frowning and being 
cynical sarcastic or whatever and 
therefore you are focused on one single 
signal which is my the words coming out 
of my mouth 
and the intonation that I have and 
that's one form of listening but I could 
very well be spinning a story and inside 
by you crossed arms showing very 
different type of body language but 
that's not picked up in the empathy 
circle as it sits so right now I'm only 
hearing your voice and the intonation 
and your body language could be 
something totally different so you're 
we're only picking up serve lunch at a 
channel of your expression versus you 
know the the physical how you're 
physically looking if it's crossed arm 
or you know whatever and I find I find 
that notion of context and emotion 
reading necessarily important in 
building up cognitive empathy I leave 
you to swallow that one so it's 
important so it's important to have all 
those sort of data points is different 
for building cognitive empathy yes 
and so yes if it sport it hard to hear 
I'm sorry about that but the the other 
zone of interest from for me is that a 
this format is fungible so we can use it 
for families and mediation but it 
strikes me that the question we're gonna 
debate is is structure is is structuring 
so that if we're in a mediating or 
conflictual environment the nature of 
our ability to stick with that 
constrained question or issue is deeply 
important and and the ability for the 
moderator to keep us focused on that 
specific zone that we've mutually agreed 
to an advance so one aspect of a 
facilitator like or team leader whatever 
keep people on topic instead of it kind 
of drifting all over the place is that 
yes it's interesting that you have to 
struggle with the technical elements of 
listening as well sorry about that 
but I so my point was first there's the 
complexity of listening and reading 
emotions that go beyond reformulating 
the words I'm listening to a larger z' 
and to the nature of the issue that 
we're discussing for example people you 
know very well it's oftentimes much 
harder to be empathic with them than it 
is with a person you're sitting beside 
on an airplane meeting for the first 
time ok so there's there's sort of the 
understanding part it seems to be 
important that something you can have 
really good understanding for someone 
who you don't know personally you know 
they've got an airplane we that you 
could have deep understanding with them 
it may be more difficult 
with your family member yeah or issues 
with more baggage more babies so I I 
just was thinking in the empathy circle 
the way I'm approaching this is layering 
in these two other areas one is the 
different emotional readings and context 
data points are ultimately going to be 
necessary for artificial intelligence 
and two to think about the spectrum of 
of people and issues that we're looking 
at and I think there's a modularity that 
could help us to make empathy circles 
more efficient not necessarily in time 
but specific to what we're trying to 
achieve okay so you're saying that the 
empathy circle could be developed to 
make it more effective in terms of the 
outcome that's desired yes keeps coming 
to me is so the building on the empathy 
in the empathy circle how did it sort of 
expand it like I just keep focusing on 
this first step but there is another 
step that I think would be important 
which is the the feeling part is it as a 
speaker you know we can deepen the 
empathy circle by the speaker sharing 
more of their feelings I could share 
more of my felt experience right now 
that would kind of contribute to the 
deepening the emotional deepening of 
this so the speaker can do something to 
speak more from their emotional physical 
space right so in this first stage of 
the empty circle you kind of 
where we focus on the the back and forth 
the the act of the reflective listening 
you're looking to move that into perhaps 
the emotional level so what can the 
speaker do in telling their story that 
carries more emotion and can that be 
reflected back by the listener yeah 
and it's actually easier for the 
listener to reflect back feelings and 
complex you know concepts I've noticed - 
uh-huh 
so you see yeah so for the listener to 
reflect back feelings they yes they I 
can immediately see that sorry as 
opposed to from sometimes we get into 
some very complex wordy things and the 
listener has a hard time yeah so this 
was actually already with Crowell Rogers 
and his grad students because there's a 
whole field of how to take it to the 
next step and all these different grad 
students of Carl Rogers kind of took it 
off in all kinds of different directions 
and the one was Jean gentleman one of 
his grad students who said who are the 
people in therapy who are having the 
most growth kind of like emotional you 
know working through their problems and 
what is it that's making them more 
successful and from his studies it was 
the people who spoke about their felt 
experience in the moment and shared 
their felt experience in the moment had 
the most growth so he developed the 
whole practice called focusing which I 
would call self empathy is to notice 
your own felt experience in the moment 
and and share that and then have someone 
be accompanying you with empathic 
listening so that would be a step you 
know another step to deepening the 
practice is for the speaker to get 
really good at just sharing how they 
feel yeah I don't I feel in them in the 
moment you know I feel pretty excited 
about the topic here I feel kind of 
relaxed and spacious I feel kind of a 
sense of warmth you know towards you 
know both of you for kind of exploring 
this topic so that's just some of it I 
feel sort of yeah sort of a spaciousness 
okay here he has to be so so from Carl 
Rogers working and the various students 
who went off and explored his work more 
deeply one of the subjects was who's 
getting the best results and and how is 
that happening and it was discovered by 
one of his students I don't know the 
name gene gentleman who discovered that 
the people who shared more of their 
emotional states in the moment tended to 
get the better results and so you're 
thinking if we apply this to empty 
circles where people are encouraged 
perhaps to to share more of how they're 
actually feeling in the moment at a very 
emotional level that might be a place 
for empathy circles to explore some new 
territory yeah that would be a next step 
and I shared some of my experience too 
so that was just as an example how you 
felt very expansive and whether some 
other ones you know just excited I did 
yep and okay I know there's things yeah 
and then you then you thank just for 
sharing this experience yeah I was 
sharing my gratitude I felt I feel 
gratitude that you're here you know 
talking about this and exploring this 
together so I do feel gratitude for your 
participation okay you feel gratitude 
yeah the other thing about deed I've 
been Dean you know just recently in the 
last year it's just been sort of an 
explosion of talk about empathy and 
artificial intelligence and the one 
concern I have is that it's like here's 
this simple practice of just doing 
empathic listening but people want to go 
off and do all this complicated computer 
stuff you know and I would like to see 
them first master this simple practical 
step on all those people all those 
article 
all those writers that I see can you 
just learn and practice something that's 
sort of accessible and I've been I've 
talked to artificial intelligence people 
in Eric just seems like oh yes kind of a 
sales 
I'm not saying as for the mentor but 
this is like it's a sales job and it's 
like but they couldn't even do a 
empathic listening you know what I mean 
it's I get it I get a little concerned 
about that that it's becomes like is is 
hot topic but you know how about 
starting with just the you know have all 
those folks who are studying artificial 
intelligence just learn to do an empathy 
circle to begin with and then built it 
would actually see it would actually 
help in the development of the 
artificial intelligence I think to have 
those deeper personal experiences okay 
so with the the fact that you know in 
the AI well the exploration of ethics 
and empathy is a really hot topic you're 
feeling that perhaps all these people 
who are studying that could use an 
empathy circle or two to just come to 
the basics oh yeah learning some of 
those skills on the front lines of their 
lives and it would improve their there's 
this the work that they're doing I think 
right and so then they could take that 
experience and start applying that in 
the work they're doing in AI yeah I 
thought heard thank you okay thank you 
okay well I'll just keep moving around 
the circle then and and down to your 
mentor and I'll stop I'll stop my video 
well no you don't have to while you're 
listening if you like actually they're 
leaving the problem Oh eNOS it is really 
nice just wish to see you as opposed to 
the light and of some some code across 
there that comes when you're not there 
if you start breaking up I'll let you 
know you can see I have a pit behind me 
here that's France up there au revoir 
save you know give you some okay it's 
the waterways we have a boat in 
nice so okay I am those were some real I 
mean this is just so exciting I I am 
think what it's excited to be here I 
must say you know and it's and it's 
funny because it is such a simple 
practice and yet within that simple 
practice there are like so many embedded 
skills and that make me happy to be here 
and then and then you know with meeting 
you mentor here too is also extremely 
exciting to you know to to hear such a 
if I might say such an intellect you 
know talking is just always really 
really exciting so thank you for being 
here well I shake my head in tote I I 
shake my head in total judgment try to 
try to refuse the judgment that you're 
making 
maybe but anyway that was service I'm 
not sure what sort of sense of humor 
that was but anyway what you are 
experiencing is excitement of how the 
amp can you hear me okay yep how the 
empathy circle is a seemingly simple 
exercise but it it very quickly explodes 
into many more different pieces that are 
interestingly interesting in their own 
elements and anyway you're enjoying the 
experience of this empathy circle yes 
very much thank you and and where could 
it go I mean this this AI thing is as 
Edwin was saying it's obviously very big 
and obviously you're very much into it 
and I even had a little conversation 
with aggregate IQ about it the other day 
but as being a Victoria company you know 
here in Canada but 
it's you know whenever I introduce the 
concept of you know empathy into the AI 
conversation there are a lot of head 
shakers you know if you know you have 
the old classic of the automated car and 
the old lady and the kids on the 
crosswalk you know and how does the AI 
make that kind of decision 
and then it's becoming much more you 
know it's moved to so much more complex 
levels now so you're and you're talking 
about the body language and and all the 
features that you know facial 
recognition software can detect about 
speakers as being part of that input 
it's at the moment it's just like a huge 
humble jumble and you know in my mind 
it's definitely not organized and just 
to finish I'd say there's a really very 
funny video of a guy and and his 
daughter or a little kid like a 
one-year-old at 1:51 and a half year old 
kid talking and and the kid is going 
well or light or light rather and the 
data all right oh yeah wahhhh 
and the king of madra and they have this 
long conversation with absolutely no 
worse than this like this it's you'd 
swear they were talking and they are 
they are talking there's definitely a 
conversation happening there between 
them with this this child language what 
would a I make of that I wonder so a lot 
to digest so looking at empathy in 
artificial intelligence which is a 
burgeoning area the complexities within 
it let's say we're far from convincing 
you of the possibilities or maybe 
probabilities of it anyway within 
artificial intelligence and you're 
useful you know say 
on the fence as to its possibility and 
you you reference the idea of of all the 
other elements to go into a conversation 
including nonverbal communication 
because in that case you have a father 
and a child who aren't verbalizing words 
that are cognitively recognizable but 
still are conversing and probably 
there's some sort of empathy and emotion 
going on there and what would a machine 
think about that absolutely yeah I think 
it's not so much that I'm not convinced 
that this is a part that we or almost a 
rabbit hole that we're going down it's 
more that people in in conversations 
that I'm with are not convinced about it 
I I think I'm you know I would certainly 
be happy to be on the frontline of 
working with you know artificial 
intelligence people on some of those 
issues because I it is fascinating 
although I confess that when I was 
saying that I do feel lost I feel very 
lost in that in that in those realms so 
you you come across many people who are 
do potata v' about the idea of empathy 
and AI 
you're excited about it yet it's let's 
say a vast if not confusing topic 
absolutely yeah 
so where so is there someplace I empty 
circles as as I've been saying it's this 
simple technology it's an it's like an 
intro and introductive technology how 
would how would empty circles fit into 
you know this burgeoning field of AI 
empathy and AI and you know I I mean I 
guess one tends to have mixed feelings 
about the whole world of AI but you know 
you can have mixed feelings about 
anything and it still comes rolling down 
the pike a so 
you you sort of have to just kind of 
take it on as it comes no so we're not 
sure about the possibilities of empathy 
in AI but it does seem let's say more 
likely to be a in our future and then 
the question is how do we take it on and 
it's going to be every each one to their 
own because everything can be good or 
bad it depends how you use it if I can 
reformulate yes yes there's certainly in 
essence yeah that's - I often say to 
people you know you can build a house 
with a hammer or you can hit somebody 
over the head 
so say okay well no I feel heard on 
heard on that thank you lovely so I'm 
gonna come back at you Martin with video 
in queue you can raise your finger or if 
you need me to kill the video that way 
you can practice just audio so empathy 
circles as a method have 
definitely improve my understanding of 
listening skills and I understand their 
benefit as an introductory element i yet 
need to figure out step two step three 
because change in a in an organization 
typically can't just stay at the 
listening space for example at the 
conclusion of every empathy circle the 
the business minded individual want to 
know all right what do we what do we 
agree on we agreed on we might be better 
listeners okay so the empty circles for 
you have have definitely increased your 
appreciation and abilities perhaps even 
in in listening and how do we move that 
into the next step in fact what is the 
next step of that process because within 
you mentioned the business context for 
instance you would come to the end of an 
empathy circle and people would want 
some answers they want it laid down okay 
what did we decide you know what is that 
and and is that a piece of empty circles 
that needs to be developed or just like 
in presumably in mediation you you or 
the issue that's at hand we could talk 
about an issue that's non contentious 
and we have a nice time but nice times 
to forget a word in a business 
environment about that kind of need to 
have a an objective and a resolution and 
if you have mediation you kind of want a 
solution to the issue that you're 
mediating around and therefore as a 
judge in a courtroom will decide there 
is a decision or or some resolution and 
even the expression of the resolution 
can it by itself be contentious right so 
with the empathy circles I mean you 
still or rather with a mediation moving 
into that kind of model as you come to 
the end of the mediation there is a 
decision needed or an outcome that is 
desired and by the parties and how do 
you how do you how do you bring that 
into the empathy circle context did I 
get that right that's right because 
ultimately in a courtroom typically 
there's a judge which with a gavel that 
bang and says the decision worded 
hopefully with some empathy according to 
the loser in the winner or whatever yes 
so in a business environment whether 
with forgetting mediation we might be 
talking about an issue you will use the 
empathy circle as a format to resolve or 
improve our abilities to work together 
because maybe as a team we stopped 
working functioning well 
and as you maybe a little bit what 
Edwin's had before is if you move into 
the organic form of life where we 
converse in a natural way it can become 
a method of of coming back to so it 
almost feels like that might be an 
interesting area to formalize moving 
from empathy circle organic conversation 
back to empathy circle and and how that 
process could be more formalized in its 
way back into a work environment okay 
okay interesting idea so so because the 
there was a desire in many of the 
situations where the empty circles might 
be introduced as as a problem-solving 
technique but there was a desire for 
some kind of outcome and how one of the 
processes that might achieve getting to 
that outcome would be to allow the 
empathy circle to move into a more 
natural dialogue until its needs through 
until it goes off the rails or something 
like that and then has a there's a 
process a formal process to take it back 
into the empathy circle again and so you 
would have this natural mechanism to go 
into dialogue and then back into the 
empty set empathy circle I feel heard 
that I feel that that could be really 
interesting in a work environment and I 
would I would want to give it all but I 
would agree that that would need at 
least two hours because you need to sort 
of exercise empathy circle Ness then 
move into conversation honest and then 
see how it wobbles and then bring back 
empathy circle miss in a natural way 
such that it 
presents how we are in real life because 
that's the issue is you move away from 
the two hours into the other 22 and it's 
and and what we need is that to exist in 
the 22 mm-hmm okay a little reluctant to 
give up your objection to the two hour 
time frame however within with these 
added mechanisms of moving into natural 
speech and then back into empathy circle 
mode you can see that two hours will 
probably be sort of a minimum time for 
that but and and and and that's 
definitely an area in your view that is 
worth exploring in a in a formal way 
thank you March and I feel hurt okay 
you're welcome thank you 
okay well I guess I'll go on around the 
circle then to a way listening I I you 
know there is a natural part of me I 
find in the empathy circles and then 
other people too I'm sure that 
continually wants to break into that 
normal dialogue mode and you know I've 
been in many situations where a very 
structured environment has made that 
break into a natural and and sometimes 
well but more often in my world not well 
it the structure of mediations which 
have some similarities to this you know 
if you just kind of let it go ragged it 
can break apart pretty quick and and you 
know you end up with everybody shouting 
and then you got to kind of bring the 
whole thing back to square one and start 
again sometimes it's good so 
occasionally you know some people 
sometimes people just like to get you 
know they got to get the steam out 
sometimes you just got a loan go 
you know have a big dump and get it all 
out and then you wait until all that's 
done and then you kind of move in to a 
more structured approach to a solution 
hmm so it sounds like there's two parts 
that one is in the in the practice we've 
been doing now you've been feeling like 
you're wanting to just start speaking so 
it kind of a ten desire to just kind of 
go into the whatever's on your mind how 
to respond and then you're just noticing 
that as well as your then you're looking 
at with in mediation how does that have 
you seen that work where you know you 
have the note the structure and then 
sort of no structure by just doing 
whatever you're reacting however they 
want and sometimes just have to let 
people react so they can express all 
those pent-up frustrations and then you 
can go to the structure so you're just 
sort of exploring the relationship of 
that structure and so not having that 
structure right absolutely I'm just 
wondering whether it's you know whether 
we should almost give it a whirl you 
know give it a try 
whether we should so what would that 
even look like I you know having been in 
empathy circles now I don't even know I 
don't even know how that would work 
because usually it involves you know 
somebody's speaking somebody else 
speaking and then somebody else coming 
in and I don't even know how it would 
how you would break into that and break 
out out of them so kind of moving from 
the structured process into dialogue and 
then back into it like Minter was 
talking about as well you're not quite 
you're not sure like how that practice 
was would work even may be thinking of 
suggesting it here and how could we just 
go into you know dialogue without you 
know the practice process the structure 
right right so and you know within that 
dialogue mode it would be the sort of 
thing where I would or one of us would 
ask a question and then somebody would 
answer questions so I might ask you a 
question within the development of 
empathy circles to sort of 
true or or what do they say now dot 2 or 
something like that 
empathy circles I might say well what 
are your ideas on that ed what have you 
got in mind and then you would you know 
say well actually this is what I've got 
in mind and oh that and then Minda would 
say oh well that's really how about this 
question so I guess you get into this 
kind of question and answer exploration 
around the group there's some maybe 
there's some little kind of structural 
you may maybe they are in fact other 
structures that are as highly 
disciplined as this one but are just a 
bit different mm-hmm so there could be 
you're just saying how you can transfer 
transfer from this structure to another 
structure and they everything is the 
structure I guess in that sense there's 
another structure but how do you move 
from one structure to the other which 
has different you know qualities and 
nature to it it's kind of thinking 
different rules like how do you shift 
between these structures yeah yeah and 
then as soon as you as soon as you relax 
the rules or not relaxed but shift to a 
different set of rules it also creates 
license for people to behave in 
different ways 
[Music] 
oh that rule doesn't apply anymore now I 
can do this yeah yeah yeah so when you 
shift the rules you can act differently 
and behave differently and more and I 
must say one of the things I like about 
the empty circles is is the rigid 
structure I I find and I'm really 
surprised that people go along with it 
but maybe the people who don't want to 
go along with it never show up that's 
why you have a problem getting a right 
wingers in your left right conversations 
you know because this it's maybe it's 
too tight for them or something I don't 
know so there's a little surprise like 
here's this rigid structure and surprise 
that people like go along with it you're 
just kind of exploring like well maybe 
some people just don't want to take part 
in that rig destruction they just 
wouldn't show up and maybe the right is 
medical writers like that you see that's 
that's so excellent I was trying to 
trick you there I was I was trucking I 
was trying to get you to comment back on 
what I would say as opposed to just 
reflecting it this is a little trick 
yours like really let's get see if a 
word would respond back and you know 
it's just just reflected and there you 
go well thank you very much I feel good 
okay speak to Mincher then yeah the 
whole notion of a I assisted empathy 
circle sounds pretty good it's like 
there's the structure of the empathy 
circle and it could be sort of assisted 
with AI right there could be a it's tool 
set or software or something that kind 
of helps with the with the empathy 
circle practice I'm not quite sure what 
that would be I might actually have some 
ideas but this the idea of it's sort of 
a tool set in a sense we had a little 
bit assistive as we're recording this 
right we have technology that is 
recording the empathy circle so it's 
sort of like technology assisted empathy 
circle that we have here since we're in 
different parts of the world on top of 
it so we already have a little bit of a 
so there's an offer 
sorry yes there could there could be an 
opportunity for AI to augment at the 
empathy circle although you have yes my 
ideas but it's still let's say embryonic 
as to how that would work but it might 
be a layer on top of our technologically 
enhanced anyway because we already be 
doing video via remote empathy circles 
yeah I had talked with someone from 
Skype there was an engineer there he 
contacted me and he was interested in 
empathy and he was gonna start working 
on a project on it and then we just had 
a discussion about the empathy circle 
and he started coming up with all kinds 
of ideas he had like all kinds of you 
know software that I'm not familiar with 
but it has a lot of logic and 
and when I told him about feelings and 
needs as his part of the empathy circle 
process he got really excited because he 
saw a feedback loop that could be it if 
you have a feedback loop within within a 
process you can keep learning because 
you're you have something to test 
against and then so yeah and also yes if 
there were unable to tag for feelings 
and needs that could according to the 
sub-basement Microsoft guy or Skype guy 
helped to create a feedback loop so we 
would integrate learning directly into 
the process yeah and he had all kinds of 
off-the-shelf you know tool sets that 
could be brought to bear but then he you 
know he got pulled off on to another job 
and that kind of got dropped 
unfortunately I think that could have 
been really powerful I think that you 
know like Microsoft with Skype or you 
know zoom or Facebook they could be 
using this process like for what they're 
doing they have all kinds of conflict 
you know they're they're defunding 
people YouTube as well be monetizing 
them kicking them off their platforms it 
could be do their willingness to do an 
empathy circle could be part of the 
practice for conflict resolution so 
there's a huge amount of technology that 
could be brought into into these 
platforms you know using empathic 
listening then assisted tools right 
artificial intelligence technology tools 
to assist these dialogues so there's a 
an opportunity even within these video 
platforms to consider empathy circles as 
a one of the conduits for helping 
resolve some of the conflicts that we 
have for example D monetizing kicking 
people off YouTube because of something 
that they have said or shared and 
and we could use empathy circles to 
resolve those type of conflicts even 
within a zoom or a YouTube or Skype yeah 
like they could have they said of kicked 
off the guy from Infowars 
his name right now the you know he was 
kicked off of YouTube and what if they 
would have said well if you want to stay 
on our platform you have to do an 
empathy circle with the family members 
from Newtown who you're like you know 
really attacking or you know criticizing 
and saying that well maybe that's just 
all made up those shootings so there 
could have been something with sort of a 
mediation and there's all kinds of 
opportunities like that they could have 
it the political left is trying to be 
fun you know kick off the right and 
they're kritis you know they're doing 
stuff with YouTube saying oh these are 
terrible people kick them off they kick 
them off and then left right is all 
pissed off and there could have been 
something you know there could be this 
could be a mediation that they could 
sort of support between the sides right 
so in the case of the guy from info 
world being kicked off for presumably 
saying something negative to the people 
from Newtown for the shooting yeah maybe 
they could have proposed rather than 
kicking him off as a sort of unilateral 
decision come back and say listen if 
you'd like to stay on keep being 
monetized this is the price you have to 
pay and go do an empathy circle with the 
people you slagged off yeah alex jones 
for exact knows his names that's right 
all right so this about this a feedback 
loop that is again the work of marshall 
rosenberg's 
who was a grad student of power rogers 
that's why I just see Carl Rogers just 
set this you know foundational empathic 
listening is this foundational practice 
and it's gone in so many if you look at 
it's gone so many different directions 
have been built on this one kernel of 
the practice and Marshall Rosenberg 
insight was well there's these feelings 
just like Jean gentleman said but behind 
feelings like anger you know sadness 
there's feelings of that people are 
desiring if they're angry they're 
desiring respect or so the feeling of 
respect or something so it's it's kind 
of mapping out the territory of feeling 
the world of feelings right it's like 
there's how does how do these feelings 
relate to each other what's behind 
feelings and so that's that aspect so 
that that was another piece in terms of 
the feedback loop of the the needs that 
people have you know the desired 
feelings that they have some ways one 
throw that in I see you're interested in 
looking at the the ways we could create 
feedback loops and and how Rogers 
approached the therapy listening with 
Armstrong was more the learnings you can 
have outside of just the listening 
element and it was Marshall Rosenberg 
and nonviolent communication that was 
sort of he developed that practice yeah 
Rosenberg nonviolent communication 
Armstrong don't worry I got that one 
from the busyness in the mind but anyway 
the idea of being able to integrate 
feedback loops which could technology 
could help by the way of course in 
introduced into the empathy circles 
exactly I feel very heard thank you so I 
am excited by the idea of a layer of 
artificial oh yeah whom I speak Martin 
okay 
about the process getting natural on you 
so I am interested and excited by the 
idea of artificial intelligence being a 
layer on empathy circles as some or many 
people start talking about AI as 
augmenting intelligence 
or assisting our intelligence as opposed 
to being a autonomous intelligence so 
you're excited about the link between AI 
and empathy where AI comes in not as an 
autonomous force which is what a lot of 
people think of when they think of it 
but as an augmenting force so it it 
helps the process and I think it's worth 
mentioning the original ki was a machine 
with the name Eliza and in the 1960s 
Eliza was essentially a reef formulator 
so the original AI machine eliezer in 
the 60s was a reformulate er I don't 
know what a rimmed Allies I will I will 
explain so he Eliza was able to to 
reformulate what she heard from the 
person of course it was through text and 
it turned out that the people in the 
office where Eliza was invented wanted 
to spend hours with Eliza because 
fundamentally they felt more heard by 
her than their peers or their friends so 
Eliza back in that period would 
reformulate the whatever was put in by 
text and feed it back out again and the 
people who were working with Eliza 
actually felt more heard by Eliza than 
they did by their peers who have when 
they would feedback what they thought 
they said so Eliza gave an accurate 
reformulation of what the person has 
said it wasn't necessarily accurate for 
what they appreciated was the endless 
time that Eliza was prepared to 
do the listening per the issue of time 
efficiencies that we have today and the 
the infinite memory and the infinite 
time if you will of a computer does 
represent at the one hand a benefit and 
that the other hand a threat to our 
humanity if we don't realize that we 
should be more empathic as individuals 
so the facts and what they appreciated 
most was the fact that Eliza didn't have 
any time constraints they can sit and 
talk to Eliza for as long as they liked 
and Eliza wasn't going anywhere 
whereas a human in that situation might 
be keep looking at their watch and and 
want to be out of there so they'd 
appreciate at the time that Eliza was 
willing to spend with them yes 
so I also my final thought that I had 
brought to the table before the empathy 
circle about empathy circles so meta was 
doing it in person and my own experience 
to the date has been in the video format 
where technology sometimes gets in the 
way as we've experienced in this case 
yet I have done now three smaller 
sessions that are in front of people in 
in conferences where I have three people 
doing with in with not six minutes but 
one or two minutes 
empathy moments and and the experience 
of those individuals in just a few 
minutes inevitably illuminates 
lightbulbs in their minds and sparks 
tremendous reactions from the 
individuals in the room 
you've been you know within the 
technological world which is what we 
now and technology can get in the way 
sometimes at the communication that's 
happening so in the face-to-face 
empathy circles and you've been doing 
some of these in conferences with a two 
minute or so time schedule and and the 
reaction of the people who experience 
that and the reaction of the people in 
the room is is very dramatic it I'm not 
quite sure what the reaction is other 
than it's very dramatic 
well like learning it's the drama in the 
mind that might provoke the change the 
the notion of being in public is 
critical at this point because it 
renders hyper difficult your ability to 
stay presence focus on the individual 
knowing that you have 60 pairs of eyes 
for example looking at you and measuring 
every word and whether margin got it 
right or wrong and that pressure is a 
simulation of the busyness that we 
always feel somehow it's not similar 
it's sort of like a proxy for the 
busyness that we have I see so so within 
these contexts where if you are one of 
these people talking or reflecting you 
are very conscious of the fact that you 
have a whole audience they're watching 
you at the time and and that audience 
and that consciousness rather is a proxy 
for the normal thing that you would feel 
about trying to get stuff out and say 
things it really Hyper's your focus on 
to onto that feeling 
yes I I've been experimenting and thus 
would like you to say that one can gain 
kernels of what I'm trying to achieve 
which is awareness 
our inability to listen awareness of the 
interest in wanting to listen more in a 
fabricated environment such as having 
people do it in front of other people 
which by the way we're doing because 
this is gonna be retransmitted but you 
and I right now we don't feel like we 
have a million eyes on us but where are 
we to be on television doing this Paul 
right I would argue we would deep deep 
you know noodle noodling around all 
right 
right Wow wow that's I got a like I got 
so I got there my lack of ability to to 
listen and and exactly what you were 
saying I got so involved in in trying to 
experience being in that situation that 
I kind of lost the thread but what I got 
was that the being in front of the large 
audience of people well it said well it 
certainly heightened the experience and 
some in some way it just heightened the 
experience of being of saying and and oh 
I know what it was it was the ability to 
become conscious of your own inability 
to listen and to take you know take some 
kind of action towards improving that 
ability to listen it was that perfect 
yeah so my gig is you know finding ways 
for the reminisce we say in French carry 
on effect and and when you spark these 
kinds of ha 
moments this is a lightbulb moment the 
the learning moment where people observe 
the inability observe the errors of 
translation and say hmm maybe I should 
remember this in the future 
mm-hmm so I'm thinking more the 
listeners but perhaps also the 
practitioners in those situations 
it's like having a bright light Shawn on 
to their ability or lack thereof to hear 
what somebody else is saying and to 
reflect it back to them and and and I 
guess to think that that's an important 
thing to do I am feeling heard Martin 
okay okay good 
okay well I guess we're kind of running 
out there aren't we how many more we got 
here we had 20 minutes finance okay well 
I guess I'll keep going around the 
circle then and okay I you know I'm I'm 
not actually sure that I have a lot to 
say which is unusual for me this is it's 
quite an exciting conversation and I'd 
be certainly interested to see whether 
you know whether any of the ideas that 
have gone around here and how they would 
incorporate it into the empty circles 
I'm I you know I I think the empathy 
circle as it is right now as you call it 
a stage one 
you know first lesson is is valuable 
just the way it is but then when you 
move into some kind of functional 
application which is what mental is talk 
about you know 
we're where people are looking for some 
outcomes which is more kind of my 
territory then you know I can see that 
perhaps some new technology some new 
methods kind of that you can move to it 
might be might be quite useful okay so 
at first you didn't weren't sure what to 
talk about and kind of joking that 
that's something for you not to know to 
talk about but then you had some ideas 
that's really about sort of the that you 
feel like you and mentor want some sort 
of an outcomes from the empathy circle 
and how do you move from sort of this 
stage one to stage two and just sort of 
wondering if anything will come come out 
of it but then also valuing just the 
basic practice itself - yes and I think 
you know going around the basic practice 
I it's almost like you want to do a 
debrief I mean there was sometimes there 
is a little quick debrief and at the end 
of the empathy circles you have that 
last round you know what did you get out 
of this kind of around and and usually 
it's a field as in my experience it's 
kind of like a feel-good kind of put it 
to bed kind of round but I guess I 
haven't used an empathy circle in anger 
if you like you know I I haven't I 
haven't taken it to the frontlines with 
me other than there are elements there 
are elements of the obviously the the 
the close listening and the reflective 
listening that we use in in mediation 
but I haven't sort of sat to myself in a 
mediation said you know what this 
mediation is off the rails what we need 
to do is an empathy circle and here's 
how it works and let's go around and do 
this I haven't actually done that in an 
actual situation but it might be 
interesting to try and and just see how 
it works where you just kind of shift 
people I mean we often do the reflective 
thing listen what I want you to do is 
imagine being in the other person's 
shoes I mean we actually do 
you know and I want you to tell me what 
you think that they think of this 
situation what do you think they might 
think of the fact that you did that 
yeah and so we'll often do that kind of 
technique which is a little bit you know 
this kind of forcing them into an 
empathic position hmm so you're 
wondering like how it would work like an 
empathy is using an empathy circle in a 
real conflict with anger and you do sort 
of role taking you have you have the 
participants sort of like what would the 
other person what would you be feeling 
if you were the other person do you do 
that sort of role thinking but not sort 
of the empathic listening it sounds like 
yeah yeah I I haven't watched the whole 
video of the tent at the Berkeley of the 
Berkeley can fracas there that you did 
where you took the tent out and you had 
that leader of the right came in and and 
and I watched some little bits of it but 
I haven't watched the whole thing so is 
that something you would recommend that 
I watch the whole thing because there's 
some real nuggets in there yes you're 
just wondering like would that be a good 
example the right and the left talking 
at Berkeley it I'd be a good example of 
how to mediate a really contentious 
circle using yeah using empathise yeah 
right 
no I was I was looking for an answer 
okay so yeah you really would like an 
answer and you feel hurt okay then I'll 
speak back to you okay okay so the 
that's the the circle that you're 
talking about it only went for about 
10-15 minutes and it was interrupted by 
an Tifa or the group do you they're a 
scream 
yelling and we couldn't even hear each 
other talk so it's not the best example 
of a successful empathy circle yet yeah 
it because it was interrupted and then 
we stood up and then those words like 
surrounded by media we ended up doing 
all these media you know discussions 
which took us off from the empty circle 
it is an example of what in an intense 
situation something it didn't didn't 
work totally well because it was so much 
screaming and yelling around the 
outskirts of people trying to shut it 
down right oh that's right you're 
talking to me yeah right I was listening 
to the answer to all my questions that 
you don't okay so you are answering the 
fact that that that example of the 
trying to introduce the empathy stoical 
into a very tense situation only lasted 
about 10 minutes in fact so I've 
actually probably did see most of it but 
it descended into screaming and shouting 
and by the participants but by outside 
people trying to shut it down they did 
not delay the political left did not 
want the dialogue to take place so they 
were screaming yelling we were talking 
to each other for me to just across with 
a megaphone to hear each other we are 
sharing a megaphone to speak to someone 
like three or four feet away because 
there was so much outside screaming and 
potential violence coming in so that 
wasn't the most effective you know an 
environment for holding you know empathy 
circle right so the participant 
participants themselves were were ready 
to go along with the new circle 
technology but the outside the political 
left in this case didn't want this to 
happen for whatever reason was 
attempting to interrupt shouting at very 
short distances with with a megaphone to 
Indiana and the participants were doing 
great it was like in 
easy it was actually quite easy because 
the participants were doing a really 
good job the next day we set up at UC 
Berkeley again with our empathy tent and 
the leader on the right he brought a 
friend of his and there's a recording of 
this and this friend of his is very well 
known in the right wing because he was 
one of the first to fight back against 
the antifa he's huge he was a fighter 
until he became a real hero on the right 
for you know standing up and fighting 
back and then the leader of the group 
brought him to the tent and said this 
guy needs an empathy circle so he sat 
down there's no nt4 there's no left we 
just grabbed somebody that was on the 
left we sat down and did a half an hour 
empathy circle it worked great I mean it 
was yeah it worked really well 
he's always nobody trying to shut it 
down it was just it was easy to mediate 
right right so the next so the next day 
the one of the right wing guys brought a 
lead at one of the right wings a leader 
the leader of the right wing group 
brought one of the members right a big 
guy a fighter I said this guy needs an 
empathy circle and you sat down with him 
and and had a successful firing yeah and 
the this guy his name was Kyle and 
there's an article written about it and 
as a video a bit too so I can say the 
link he started he started playing a 
little bit like he wasn't really 
reflecting and you know he was kind of 
making fun I said no you just reflect 
back what you hear the other person said 
he says oh this is serious so he took it 
serious I mean he really tried to you 
know take it seriously so in that 
context I find you know you're talking 
about the right if the right takes part 
they usually really like the practice 
they like the structure they like the 
effectiveness of it is just getting him 
into the circle but once they get into 
it they tend to be very supportive of it 
okay so the right the guy who came 
you know at first it was a little bit 
playful and just kind of like going 
along with the whole thing but you said 
no no you just reflect what you hear and 
and so he said oh okay this is serious 
and and he did that and then you go into 
it and your experience has been that the 
people on the right typically once they 
get into the process and understand how 
it goes actually do very well with it 
and like him well as a ton of other 
stuff I could say but I just see our 
time we only got 11 minutes left so 
maybe we'll stop here and we can just 
kind of open it up for sort of a 11 
minutes debrief freestyle you know 
discussion anybody I felt that that 
little exchange that we had there was a 
couple of moments there where we kind of 
like were on the edge of of just 
dialogue as opposed black thing back and 
forth mostly because I wasn't wasn't 
really doing it very well but I felt 
hurt yeah okay yeah I'm really enjoying 
this I think we need three or four hours 
is our family four or five hours in our 
family and fifty circles yeah you're 
just kind of getting warmed up but just 
after a couple hours well that's amazing 
these two hours have gone by just like 
that I mean I did you know sometimes I 
think two hours yeah that's a big 
commitment you know two hours of time 
but that went very pretty quick and yeah 
I know it was a pleasure I think the 
objective was specific and that allowed 
for or you know we kept on track for the 
most part you know with baubles and and 
maybe in you necessary wobbles to move 
around and explore different areas and 
again it's interesting as you say Martin 
how quickly time can fly I'm totally in 
favor of empathy circles as a 
preliminary base as a way to explore and 
and democratize I'm more in Phase two 
land and so I that's that's where I come 
from this where I think about how to 
embed it in to business where you know 
50 minute meetings already sometimes too 
long and there are just too many 
meetings as it is and and while if we 
spend more time thinking about strategy 
and being nice to each other there or 
these listening to another one could 
speed things along for sure to get it in 
the door you can't go in with a to our 
regular empathy circle so need to 
structure it differently as far as 
putting it into business concerned yet I 
think that you mentioned the half hour 
version Edwin and or maybe it was you 
Martin but we we can do shorter versions 
that could have interesting maybe 
spectacular effects maybe not quite as 
long-lasting just like meditation takes 
time to instill you're not gonna learn 
to be a guru of meditation by one 10 
minute 
you know guided session so I thought I 
was right sorry yeah there's some years 
ago I did a course called corporate 
circles it's Maureen Fitzgerald she 
wrote a book called corporate circles 
and one of the lines that always stuck 
with me was if you're arranging a 
corporate meeting get there half an hour 
early and hide the table and so 
everybody is sitting around in chairs 
with no table in the middle completely 
changes the whole dynamic of the way 
that people relate in that situation 
[Music] 
let's go ahead we care 
the chairs that - you could although 
being Westerners we tend to sit in 
chairs it's really hard to in 
cross-legged on the floor you know if 
you have them just standing up 
definitely that's that's interesting I 
hadn't I hadn't thought of going that 
far 
normally I do i do do corporate circles 
and i do you know circles and many large 
group conflict situations and it's 
normally a little bit of the kind of the 
Talking Stick and and the celebratory 
object of some sort in the center of the 
circle and everybody sitting on chairs 
and round and it is a very powerful 
technique sure you know we could use 
that at Occupy Wall Street in the 
empathy tent that and it was I just 
found that people really wanted to speak 
more please get a big group here is 
limited in terms of you know how much 
time you have to speak so the idea is to 
break it up into really small groups so 
it could be a lot more active you know 
it can be a lot more active so that was 
there's another one called dynamic 
facilitation for large talkative groups 
which developed by a guy over here in 
Port Townsend in Washington State 
Jim rough and and that's when you you 
you set up four boards with recorders on 
them and they each have a different 
topic and thing they're recording and 
when you go into the room there's always 
somebody ready to burst you know they 
just one other that it out so you go to 
them first and so what you do is you 
follow the energy in the room and as 
that person talks you record everything 
they say on these four boards and you 
keep asking them how we got it 
have we got everything got all your 
points here and eventually they'll look 
and they'll say yeah yeah I think you 
got it off 
you suck them dry and then they sit down 
and shut up and you go to the next one 
and you work your way down through the 
energy levels until you get to the last 
guys and then you say John you didn't 
say much today why don't you got to say 
you know and you pull them in and say I 
know Rosa she's one of the he's doing 
that that's right I forgot about Rosa 
yeah so she's actually she and I have 
worked a lot with the empathy circles 
so and and she is now using empathy 
circles as a gateway practice into 
dynamic facilitation because it's that 
initial phase where people are just like 
dying to be heard yes and so by teaching 
everyone to do an empathy circle they're 
sort of Dino purging all that energy to 
begin with and they're also learning the 
empathic listening practice because in 
the dynamic facilitation she said she's 
actually called an empathic inquiry as 
well is that is that the facilitator is 
doing the reflection like it is an 
empathic listening but the facilitator 
reflects back what the speaker is saying 
make sure the speaker feels heard and 
then they put it into those categories 
so start giving form you know different 
buckets basically if you're using the 
sign and they start organizing the 
material you just keep going they she 
does like you know two-day workshops you 
know on this but now she's starting with 
empathy circles as uh as a first step 
because it kind of teaches everyone sort 
of practices that is another aspect in 
terms of artificial intelligence or you 
know augmenting tools is to start 
capturing what has been generated and 
giving it form like one of the problems 
were other solutions what is the data 
and so forth so it yeah would totally 
fit it's again the Gateway but again 
this empathic listening is the gateway 
to that whole practice so I close with 
one final thought which is a problem a 
friend someone who read my book says I 
really love your book and it's really 
great but I said well why didn't you 
have you ever have you ever done an 
empathic circle empathy circle and he 
said no I don't know what it is and and 
and my thought was well how do I get him 
to know about it without him doing it if 
you will with us to Shepherd him in and 
it just struck me the problem I'm 
voicing is 
it requires a shepherd somehow to bring 
them in like I would say a first trip on 
LSD and once you're in your I got it 
I know what it is I can do it but as far 
as propagate acing it would be lovely if 
I could just write out on my Twitter 
feed hey guys do an amputee circle on 
our problem but that won't fly you kind 
of need to have someone rushing them in 
and then they can fly by themselves 
yeah what's great though this is part of 
it of creating that introductory those 
little baby steps that's I've been 
working at then this circle is sort of 
helping to build those baby steps with 
trainings and make it really easy for 
people to do that first step so thanks 
for that 
that's definitely what I'd like to 
create today is there an Eliza today 
where for instance I can tell a story to 
my computer and then I can sit back and 
my computer reflects my story back to me 
and me formulated well the I would 
suggest trying to ones meet suku which 
is a they're both bots MIT s UK you 
and the second is whoa bot wo e bo T and 
they're both interesting experiments or 
opportunities to to converse so as 
conversational AI and they are more or 
less I mean they're more sophisticated 
than Eliza for sure Mitsu Kuh 
I'm actually gonna have my podcast soon 
the guy who created that Steve Wars 
ouack he gave the bot as some agency on 
top of that and it's won many years in a 
row the touring Alan Turing test or a 
reward so it's it's quite phenomenal and 
we'll bot is interesting because it has 
a sense of humor anyway try them out 
okay okay well we'll close then thank 
you very much very grateful for your 
participation I learn 
a lot and now look forward to connecting 
in the future keeping the ball rolling 
billing is everything 

Comments